Though e-commerce was initially the preserve of retail businesses, digital capability has now become a must-have for enterprises of all types. In recent years, UXC Oxygen has built its customer engagement and commerce practice to work hand-in-glove with its traditional ERP-focused services, as Freya Purnell discovers.
SAP’s Customer Engagement and Commerce (CEC) area has been evolving rapidly over the last year. The recent announcement of plans to launch a suite of hybris tools to create a simplified enterprise ‘front office’ was only the latest step in bringing together not only the solutions to create a more holistic end-to-end, omnichannel experience for customers, but the philosophy and approach that will make frictionless interactions a reality.
Just as SAP has been on this journey, so too has leading Australia and New Zealand SAP systems integrator UXC Oxygen. Back in 2013, not long after SAP announced its acquisition of hybris, UXC Oxygen made its first move in the space, acquiring digital and e-commerce specialist White Labelled, the 2013 hybris partner of the year. Then in May this year, the company also snapped up contiigo, the 2012 and 2014 hybris partner of the year.
By bringing these two businesses into the fold, UXC Oxygen quickly cemented its position as the only ANZ SAP solution provider to have both the depth and breadth of experience in the Customer Engagement and Commerce arena. The team collectively has more than 30 hybris implementations under its belt, including some of the big names in the retail space – including Target, Angus & Robertson, Qantas, Harris Scarfe, and Spotlight.
The ubiquity of digital interactions now means that customer engagement and commerce is about much more than retail, and Paul Wilson, head of customer engagement and commerce for UXC Oxygen, said the same fundamentals that have underpinned B2C commerce are now being applied with great effect in the B2B world.
“For too long, the B2B experience has been neglected and forgotten, but the reality is the users of these B2B systems are also consumers who are out there using commerce sites and website and digital devices. So business user expectations have naturally grown through their experiences in day-to-day life,” says Wilson.
UXC Oxygen is now bringing its CEC capabilities – including strategy, user experience, solution design and build, and managed solutions and services leveraging Amazon Web Services – to bear for customers such as Target. With a rapid deployment methodology in their toolkit, the emphasis is on lowering barriers to entry and enable clients to get up and running quickly on an enterprise grade platform.
“We’ve got a lot of retail experience, and a lot of public B2C-focused consumer experience. The fundamentals and best practices that we’ve developed from fine-tuning, testing and refining in that area, where the consumer is at the end of the experience, means we’re easily able to adapt those experiences and methodologies to the B2B world quite pragmatically in terms of what we need to achieve for the client,” Wilson says.
Digital drivers in the public sector
Governments at Federal, State and and local levels are now focusing on how they can use digital technologies to both improve service delivery and better engage their citizens. In Australia, the establishment of the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) within the Federal Government level placed digital firmly on the agenda – a move which should only gather steam now that Malcolm Turnbull, who was behind the establishment of the DTO, has been elevated to Prime Minister.
The embrace of digital services by the public sector has important implications for business more broadly, Wilson says. While the digital natives and early adopters will always be ahead of the curve, those who have been perhaps less enthusiastic about conducting their life online will inevitably be carried along for the ride.
“If a non-connected citizen is forced to renew their licence or pay their bills online rather than go into a store, there’s a societal shift that will start to occur,” Wilson says. “As government starts to digitise their services, the rest of the population will be influenced to move into that digital space. That then creates a critical mass of digital devices, which is then obviously going to make it far more prolific within business, in terms of how they go to market or the channel in which they interact with their customers.”
Upping your digital game
While the way Australian businesses think about digital and the way they are engaging their customers is maturing rapidly, Wilson says there is still a long way to go in the B2B space.
“Sometimes businesses don’t think of their customer as needing a good experience, but with digital infiltrating our lives on a daily basis, customers are dictating and determining the ways in which they want to interact, and when or how they want to engage with your business,” he says. “So businesses need to catch on very rapidly in how they want to engage with their customers in each channel.”
When businesses do start to think about how they create great user experiences, Wilson believes a common mistake is being technology-led.
“Leaving your technology biases behind assists you to focus on the task at hand. Businesses often determine the user experience based on their back office, which means that information could be categorised in ways that make sense for the business, but it doesn’t make sense for the user.
“I think taking the bias away from the business and away from the technology allows you to focus on the user and what they are trying to achieve at a task level, and then you can create a good user experience,” says Wilson.
Where technology considerations come into play is in integration – critical for achieving an omni-channel experience, and often the most difficult to achieve.
For this reason, Wilson believes it’s essential to choose an implementation partner that has proven experience creating omni-channel integrations from end-to-end, including multiple devices and ideally on a near real-time basis.
“That initial integration needs to allow all channels and devices to be updated instantly with a single source of truth so that everything is in sync and the experience is seamless – whether that is in the warehouse, or in the store, or online.”
This article is sponsored by UXC Oxygen. If you would like more information about how UXC Oxygen can assist with your CEC projects, please email email@example.com or register here for their upcoming webinar on November 26, which will demonstrate how organisations can benefit from a complete e-commerce platform using hybris.